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Full text of "The discoveries of John Lederer, in three several marches from Vriginia, to the west of Carolina, and other parts of the continent: begun in March 1669, and ended in September 1670. Together with a general map of the whole territory which he traversed"

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LEDERER, in three several 
Marches from VIRGINIA, to 
the West of Carolina, and other 
parts of the Continent : Begun 
in March 1669, and ended in 
September 1670. Together with a General Map 
of the whole Territory which he traversed. 
Collected and Translated out of Latine from 
his Discourse and Writings, by Sir William 
Talbot, Baronet. London, 1672. 




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one to Ujkery ° 
h home <&<""< . 

c- , T* e third Jlarch. 

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ofjlapaAanock river 
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In three feveral Marches from 


To the Weft of 


And other parts of the Continent: 

Begun in March 1669, an d ended in September 1670. 
Together with 

A General MAP of the whole Territory 
which he traverfed. 

Collected and Tranllated out of Latine from his Difcourfe 

and Writings, 

By Sir William Talbot, Baronet. 

Sed nos immenfum fpatiis confecimus aquor, 
Et jam tempus equum fumantia folvere colla. Virg. Georg. 

London, Printed by J. C. for Samuel Heyrick, at Grays- 
Inne-gate in Holborn. 1672. 

Three hundred copies 

reprinted for 


Rochester, N. Y. 




To the Right Honourable 
ANTHONY Lord Ashley, 
Baron Ashley of Wimborn St. Giles, 
Chancellor of his Majesties Exchequer, 
Under-Treasurer of England, 
One of the Lords Commissioners of his Ma- 
jesties Treasury, one of the Lords of his 
most Honourable Privie Council, 
and one of the Lords Proprie- 
tors of CAROLINA. 

My Lord, 

From this discourse it is clear that the long looked-for 
discovery of the Indian Sea does nearly approach ; and 
' Carolina, out of her happy experience of your lordships 
- success in great undertakings, presumes that the accomplish- 
ment of this glorious designe is reserved for her. In order 
v - to which, the Apalataean Mountains (though like the pro- 
digious wall that divides China and Tartary, they deny Vir- 
ginia passage into the West Continent) stoop to your 
> lordships dominions, and lay open a prospect into unlimited 
"empires; empires that will hereafter be ambitious of sub- 
J jection to that noble government which by your lordships 
rlleep wisdom and providence first projected is now established 
in Carolina ; for it will appear that she flourishes more by 
"-"the influence of that, than the advantages she derives from 
her climate and soyl, which yet do render her the beauty 
and envy of North-America. That all her glories should 
\ be seen in this draught, is not reasonably to be expected, 
since she sate to- my author but once, and then too with 
a side-face ; and therefore I must own it was never by him 
",. designed for the press, but published by me, out of no other 
ambition than that of manifesting to the world, that I am, 

My Lord, 
Your lordships most humble and obedient servant, 

William Talbot. 

To the READER. 

That a stranger should presume (though with Sir 
William Berkly's Commission) to go into those parts of the 
American Continent where Englishmen never had been, and 
whither some refused to accompany him, was, in Virginia 
look'd on as so great an insolence, that our traveller at his 
return, instead of welcom and applause, met nothing but 
affronts and reproaches ; for indeed it was their part, that 
forsook him in the expedition, to procure him discredit that 
was a witness to theirs ; therefore no industry was wanting 
to prepare men with a prejudice against him, and this their 
malice improved to such a general animosity, that he was 
not safe in Virginia from the outrage of the people, drawn 
into a perswasion, that the publick levy of that year, went 
all to the expence of his vagaries. Forced by this storm 
into Maryland, he became known to me, though then ill- 
affected to the man, by the stories that went about of him : 
Nevertheless finding him, contrary to my expectation, a 
modest ingenious person, and a pretty scholar, I thought it 
common justice to give him an occasion of vindicating him- 
self from what I had heard of him ; which truly he did with 
so convincing reason and circumstance, as quite abolished 
those former impressions in me, and made me desire this 
account of his travels, which here you have faithfully rendred 
out of Latine from his own writings and discourse, with an 
entire map of the territory he traversed, copied from his own 
hand. All these I have compared with Indian relations of 
those parts (though I never met with any Indian that had 
followed a southwest-course so far as this German) and find- 
ing them agree, I thought the printing of these papers was 
no injury to the author, and might prove a service to the 

William Talbot. 



from Virginia to the West of Carolina 

and other parts of the Continent. 

A General and Brief Account of the North- 
American Continent. 

North, as well as South-America, may be divided into 
three regions : the flats, the highlands, and the mountains. 
The flats, (in Indian, Ahkynt) is the territory lying between 
the eastern coast, and the falls of the great rivers, that 
there run into the Atlantick Ocean, in extent generally 
taken ninety miles. The highlands (in Indian, Ahkontshuck) 
begin at those falls, and determine at the foot of the 
great ridge of mountains that runs thorow the midst of this 
continent, northeast and southwest, called by the Spaniards 
Apalatai, from the Nation Apalakin ; and by the Indians, 
Pamotinck. According to the best of my observation and 
conjecture, they lie parallel to the Atlantick sea-coast, that 
bearing from Canada to Cape Florida, northeast and south- 
west, and then falling off due west as the mountains do at 
Sara : but here they take the name of Suala ; Sara in the 
Warrennuncock dialect being Sasa or Sualy. 

The flats, or Ahkynt, are by former writers made so 
well known to Christendom, that I will not stop the reader 
here, with an unnecessary discription of them ; but shall 
onely say, that by the rankness of the soyl, and salt moist- 
ness of the air, daily discoveries of fish-shells three fathom 
deep in the earth, and Indian tradition ; these parts are 
supposed some ages past to have lain under the sea. 

The highlands (or Ahkontshuck) though under the same 
parallels, are happie notwithstanding in a more temperate 
and healthful air. The ground is over-grown with under- 

The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

wood in many places, and that so perplext and interwoven 
with vines, that who travels here, must sometimes cut 
through his way. These thickets harbour all sorts of beasts 
of prey, as wolves, panthers, leopards, lions, etc. (which are 
neither so large nor so fierce as those of Asia and Africa) 
and small vermine as wilde cats, foxes, racoons. These parts 
were formerly possessed by the Tacci alias Dogi ; but they 
are extinct ; and the Indians now seated here, are distin- 
guished into the several nations of Mahoc, Nuntaneuck, alias 
Nuntaly, Nahyssan, Sapon, Managog, Mangoack, Akenatzy, 
and Monakin, etc. One language is common to them all 
though they differ in dialects. The parts inhabited here are 
pleasant and fruitful, because cleared of wood, and laid open 
to the sun. The valleys feed numerous herds of deer and 
elks larger than oxen : these valleys they call Savanae, being 
marish grounds at the foot of the Apalataei, and yearly laid 
under water in the beginning of summer by flouds of melted 
snow falling down from the mountains. 

The Apalataean mountains, called in Indian Ptsmotinck, 
(or the origine of the Indians) are barren rocks, and therefore 
deserted by all living creatures but bears, who cave in the 
hollow cliffs. Yet do these mountains shoot out to the 
eastward great promontories of rich land, known by the 
high and spreading trees which they bear : these promon- 
tories, because lower than the main ridge, are called by the 
Indians Tanx-P&motinck (alias Aquatt). To the north- 
east the mountains rise higher; and at Sara they sink so 
low, that they are easily passed over: but here (as was said 
before) they change their course and name, running due 
West, and being called Sualy: now the Sualian mountains 
rise higher and higher westward. 

The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

Of the Manners aud Customs of the Indians in- 
habiting the Western parts of Carolina 
and Virginia. 

The Indians now seated in these parts are none of those 
which the English removed from Virginia, but a people 
driven by an enemy from the Northwest, and invited to sit 
down here by an oracle about four hundred years since, as 
they pretend : for the ancient inhabitants of Virginia were 
far more rude and barbourous, feeding onely upon raw flesh 
and fish, until these taught them to plant corn, and shewed 
them the use of it. 

But before I treat of their ancient manners and customs, 
it is necessary I should shew by what means the knowledge 
of them has been conveyed from former ages to posterity. 
Three ways they supply their want of letters : first by 
counters, secondly by emblemes or hieroglyphicks, thirdly by 
tradition delivered in long tales from father to son, which 
being children they are made to learn by rote. 

For counters, they use either pebbles, or short scant- 
lings of straw or reeds. Where a battle has been fought, 
or a colony seated, they raise a small pyramid of these 
stones, consisting of the number slain or transplanted. 
Their reeds and straws serve them in religious ceremonies : 
for they lay them orderly in a circle when they prepare for 
devotion or sacrifice ; and thet performed, the circle remains 
still : for it is sacriledge to disturb or to touch it : the 
disposition and sorting of the straws and reeds, shew what 
kinde of rites have there been celebrated, as invocation, 
sacrifice, burial, etc. 

The faculties of the minde and body they commonly 
express by emblems. By the figure of a stag, they imply 
swiftness ; by that of a serpent, wrath ; of a lion, courage ; 
of a dog, fidelity : by a swan, they signifie the English, 
alluding to their complexion, and flight over the sea. 

An account of time, and other things, they keep on a 
string or leather thong tied in knots of several colours. I 

The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

took particular notice of small wheels serving for this pur- 
pose amongst the Oenocks, because I have heard that the 
Mexicans use the same. Every nation gives his particular 
ensigne or arms : The Sasquesahanaugh a Tarapine, or 
small tortoise ; the Akenatzy's a serpent ; the Nahyssanes 
three arrows, etc. In this they likewise agree with the 
Mexican Indians. Vid. Jos. a Costa. 

They worship one God, Creator of all things, whom 
some call Okaec, others Mannith : to him alone the high- 
priest, or Periku, offers sacrifice; and yet they believe he 
has no regard to sublunary affairs, but commits the govern- 
ment of mankinde to lesser deities, as ^uiacosough and 
Tagkanysough , that is, good and evil spirits: to these the 
inferiour priests pay their devotion and sacrifice, at which 
they make recitals, to a lamentable tune, of the great things 
done by their ancestors. 

From four women, viz. Pash, Sepoy, Askarin and Mar- 
askarin, they derive the race of mankinde ; which they there- 
fore divide into four tribes, distinguished under those several 
names. They very religiously observe the degrees of mar- 
riage, which they limit not to distance of kindred, but dif- 
ference of tribes, which are continued in the issue of the 
females : now for two of the same tribe to match, is ab- 
horred as incest, and punished with great severity. 

Their places of burial they divide into four quarters, 
assigning to every tribe one : for, to mingle their bodies, even 
when dead, they hold wicked and ominous. They commonly 
wrap up the corpse in beasts skins, and bury with it provi- 
sion and housholdstuff for its use in the other world. 
When their great men die, they likewise slay prisoners of 
war to attend them. They believe the transmigration of 
souls : for the angry they say is possest with the spirit of a 
serpent ; the bloudy with that of a wolf ; the timorous, of a 
deer ; the faithful, of a dog, etc. and therefore they are 
figured by these emblemes. 

Elizium, or the abode of their lesser deities, they place 
beyond the mountains and Indian Ocean. 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

Though they want those means of improving human 
reason, which the use of letters affords us; let us not there- 
fore conclude them wholly destitute of learning and sciences : 
for by these little helps which they have found, many of 
them advance their natural understandings to great knowl- 
edge in physick, rhetorick and policie of government : for I 
have been present at several of their consultations and de- 
bates, and to my admiration have heard some of their seniors 
deliver themselves with as much judgement and eloquence as 
I should have expected from men of civil education and 

From the head of Pemaeoncock, alias York- 
River (due West) to the top of the 
Apalataean Mountains. 

Upon the ninth of March, 1669, (with three Indians 
whose names were Magtakunh, Hopottoguoh and Naunnugh) 
I went out at the falls of Pemaeoncock, alias York-River in 
Virginia, from an Indian village called Shickehamany, and 
lay that night in the woods, encountring nothing remarka- 
ble, but a rattle-snake of an extraordinary length and tick- 
ness, for I judged it two yards and a half or better from 
head to tail, and as big about as a mans arm : by the dis- 
tention of her belly, we believed her full with young; but 
having killed and opened her, found there a small squirrel 
whole ; which caused in me a double wonder : first, how a 
reptile should catch so nimble a creature as a squirrel ; and 
having caught it, how he could swallow it entire. The 
Indians in resolving my doubts, plunged me into a greater 
astonishment, when they told me that it was usual in these 
serpents, when they lie basking in the sun, to fetch down 

The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

these squirrels from the tops of the trees, by fixing their 
eye steadfastly upon them ; the horrour of which strikes such 
an affrightment into the little beast, that he has no power 
to hinder himself from tumbling down into the jaws of his 
enemy, who takes in all his sustenance without chewing, 
his teeth serving him onely to offend withal. But I rather 
believe what I have heard from others, that these serpents 
climb the trees, and surprise their prey in the nest. 

The next day falling into marish grounds between the 
Pemaeoncock and the head of the River Matapeneugh, the 
heaviness of the way obliged me to cross Pemaeoncock, 
where its North and South branch (called Ackmick) joyn 
in one. In the peninsula made by these two branches, a 
great Indian king called Tottopottoma was heretofore slain 
in battle, fighting for the Christians against the Mahocks 
and Nahyssans, from whence it retains his name to this day. 
Travelling thorow the woods, a doe seized by a wild cat 
crossed our way ; the miserable creature being even spent 
and breathless with the burden and cruelty of her rider, who 
having fastened on her shoulder, left not sucking out her 
bloud until she sunk under him : which one of the Indians 
perceiving, let fly a lucky arrow, which piercing him thorow 
the belly, made him quit his prey already slain, and turn 
with a terrible grimas at us ; but his strength and spirits 
failing him, we escaped his revenge, which had certainly 
ensued, were not his wound mortal. This creature is some- 
thing bigger than our English fox, of a reddish grey colour, 
and in figure every way agreeing with an ordinary cat ; fierce, 
ravenous and cunning: for finding the deer (upon which 
they delight most to prey) too swift for them, they watch 
upon branches of trees, and as they walk or feed under, 
jump down upon them. The fur of the wilde cat, though 
not very fine, is yet esteemed for its virtue in taking away 
cold aches and pains, being worn next to the body ; their 
flesh, though rank as a dogs, is eaten by the Indians. 

The eleventh and twelfth, I found the ways very un- 
even and cumbred with bushes. 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

The thirteenth, I reached the first spring of Pemason- 
cock, having crossed the river four times that day, by reason 
of its many windings ; but the water was so shallow, that 
it hardly wet my horses patterns. Here a little under the 
surface of the earth, I found flat pieces of petrified matter, 
of one side solid stone, but on the other side isinglas, which 
I easily peeled off in flakes about four inches square : several 
of these pieces, with a transparent stone like crystal that 
cut glass, and a white marchasite that I purchased of the 
Indians, I presented to Sir William Berkley, Governour of 

The fourteenth of March, from the top of an eminent 
hill, I first descried that Apalataean mountains, bearing due 
west to the place I stood upon : their distance from me 
was so great, that I could hardly discern whether they were 
mountains or clouds, until my Indian fellow travellers pros- 
trating themselves in adoration, howled out after a barbarous 
manner, Ok'ee p<eze i. e. God is nigh. 

The fifteenth of March, not far from this hill, passing 
over the South-branch of Rappahanock-river, I was almost 
swallowed in a quicksand. Great herds of red and fallow 
deer I daily saw feeding ; and on the hill-sides, bears crashing 
mast like swine. Small leopards I have seen in the woods, 
but never any lions, though their skins are much worn by 
the Indians. The wolves in these parts are so ravenous, 
that I often in the night feared my horse would be devoured 
by them, they would gather up and howl so close round 
about him, though tethr'd to the same tree at whose foot I 
my self and the Indians lay : but the fires which we made, 
I suppose, scared them from worrying us all. Beaver and 
otter I met with at every river that I passed ; and the woods 
are full of grey foxes. 

Thus I travelled all the sixteenth ; and on the seven- 
teenth of March I reached the Apalataei. The air here is 
very thick and chill ; and the waters issuing from the 
mountain-sides, of a blue colour, and allumish taste. 



The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

The eighteenth of March, after I had in vain assayed 
to ride up, I alighted, and left my horse with one of the 
Indians, whilst with the other two I climbed up the rocks, 
which were so incumbred with bushes and brambles, that 
the ascent proved very difficult : besides the first precipice 
was so steep, that if I lookt down, I was immediately 
taken with a swimming in my head ; though afterwards the 
way was more easie. The height of this mountain was very 
extraordinary : for notwithstanding I set out with the first 
appearance of light, it was late in the evening before I 
gained the top, from whence the next morning I had a 
beautiful prospect of the Atlantick-Ocean washing the Vir- 
ginian-shore ; but to the north and west, my sight was 
suddenly bounded by mountains higher than that I stood 
upon. Here did I wander in snow, for the most part, till 
the four and twentieth day of March, hoping to find some 
passage through the mountains ; but the coldness of the air 
and earth together, seizing my hands and feet with numb- 
ness, put me to a ne plus ultra ; and therefore having found 
my Indian at the foot of the mountain with my horse, I 
returned back by the same way that I went. 


From the Falls of Powhatan, alias James- 
River, in Virginia, to Mahock in the 
Apalatsean Mountains. 

The twentieth of May 1670, one Major Harris and 
myself, with twenty Christian horse, and five Indians, march- 
ed from the falls of James-river, in Virginia, toward the 
Monakins ; and on the two and twentieth were welcomed 
by them with volleys of shot. Near this village we observed 
a pyramid of stones piled up together, which their priests 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

told us was the number of an Indian colony drawn out by 
lot from a neighbour-countrey over-peopled, and led hither by 
one Monack, from whom they take the name of Monakin. 
Here enquiring the way to the mountains, an ancient man 
described with a staffe two paths on the ground ; one point- 
ing to the Mahocks, and the other to the Nahyssans ; 
but my English companions slighting the Indians direction, 
shaped their course by the compass due west, and therefore 
it fell out with us as it does with those land-crabs, that crawl- 
ing backwards in a direct line, avoid not the trees that stand 
in their way, but climbing over their very tops, come down 
again on the other side, and so after a days labour gain not 
above two foot of ground. Thus we obstinately pursuing 
a due west course, rode over steep and craggy cliffs, which 
beat our horses quite off the hoof. In these mountains we 
wandered from the twenty fifth of May till the third of June, 
finding little sustenance for man or horse ; for these places 
are destitute both of grain and herbage. 

The third of June we came to the south-branch of 
James-river, which Major Harris observing to run northward, 
vainly imagined to be an arm of the lake of Canada ; and 
was so transported with this fancy, that he would have 
raised a pillar to the discovery, if the fear of the Mahock 
Indian, and want of food had permitted him to stay. Here 
I moved to cross the river and march on ; but the rest of 
the company were so weary of the enterprize, that crying 
out, one and all, they had offered violence to me, had I not 
been provided with a private commission from the Governour 
of Virginia to proceed, though the rest of the company 
should abandon me ; the sight of which laid their fury. 

The lesser hills, or Akontshuck, are here unpassable, 
being both steep and craggy : the rocks seemed to be at a 
distance to resemble eggs set up an end. 

James-river is here as broad as it is about an hundred 
mile lower at Monakin ; the passage over is very dangerous, 
by reason of the rapid torrents made by rocks and shelves 
forcing the water into narrow chanels. From an observa- 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

tion which we made of straws and rotten chuncks hanging 
in the boughs of trees on the bank, and two and twenty 
feet above water, we argued that the melted snow falling 
from the mountains swelled the river to that height, the 
flood carrying down that rubbish which, upon the abatement 
of the inundation, remained in the trees. 

The air in these parts was so moist, that all our biscuit 
became mouldy, and unfit to be eaten, so that some nicer 
stomachs, who at our setting out laughed at my provision 
of Indian-meal parched, would gladly now have shared with 
me : but I being determined to go upon further discoveries, 
refused to part with any of that which was to be my most 
necessary sustenance. 

The Continuation of the Second Expedition 

from Mahock, Southward, into the 

Province of Carolina. 

The fifth of June, my company and I parted good 
friends, they back again, and I with one Sasquesahanough- 
Indian, named Jackzetavon, only, in pursuit of my first en- 
terprize, changing my course from west to southwest and 
by south, to avoid the mountains. Major Harris at parting 
gave me a gun, believing me a lost man, and given up as 
a prey to Indians or savage beasts ; which made him the 
bolder in Virginia to report strange things in his own praise 
and my disparagement, presuming I would never appear to 
disprove him. This, I suppose, and no other, was the cause 
that he did with so much industry procure me discredit and 
odium ; but I have lost nothing by it, but what I never 
studied to gain, which is popular applause. 

From the fifth, which was Sunday, until the ninth of 
June, I travelled through diffisult ways, without seeing any 
town or Indian ; and then I arrived at Sapon, a village of 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

the Nahyssans, about an hundred miles distant from Mahock, 
scituate upon a branch of Shawan, alias Rorenock-river ; 
and though I had just cause to fear these Indians, because 
they had been in continual hostility with the Christians for 
ten years before ; yet presuming that the truck which I 
carried with me would procure my welcome, I adventured 
to put myself into their power, having heard that they never 
offer any injury to a few persons from whom they appre- 
hend no danger: nevertheless, they examined me strictly 
whence I came, whither I went, and what my business was. 
But after I had bestowed some trifles of glass and metal 
amongst them, they were satisfied with reasonable answers, 
and I received with all imaginable demonstrations of kind- 
ness, as offering of sacrifice, a compliment shewed only to 
such as they design particularly to honour : but they went 
further, and consulted their Godds whether they should not 
admit me into their nation and councils, and oblige me to 
stay amongst them by a marriage with the kings or some 
of their great mens daughters. But I, though with much 
a-do, waved their courtesie, and got my pastport, having 
given my word to return to them within six months. 

Sapon is within the limits of the Province of Carolina, 
and as you may perceive by the figure, has all the attributes 
requisite to a pleasant and advantagious seat ; for though it 
stands high, and upon a dry land, it enjoys the benefit of a 
stately river, and a rich soyl, capable of producing many 
commodities, which may hereafter render the trade of it 

Not far distant from hence, as I understood from the 
Nahyssan Indians, is their kings residence, called pintaha 
from the same river, and happy in the same advantages 
both for pleasure and profit : which my curiosity would have 
led me to see, were I not bound, both by oath and com- 
mission, to a direct pursuance of my intended purpose of 
discovering a passage to the further side of the mountains. 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

This nation is governed by an absolute monarch ; the 
people of a high stature, warlike and rich. I saw great 
store of pearl unbored in their little temples, or oratories, 
which they had won amongst other spoyls from the Indians 
of Florida, and hold in as great esteem as we do. 

From hence, by the Indians instructions, I directed my 
course to Akenatzy, an island bearing south and by west, 
and about fifty miles distant, upon a branch of the same 
river, from Sapon. The countrey here, though high, is 
level, and for the most part a rich soyl, as I judged by the 
growth of the trees ; yet where it is inhabited by Indians, 
it lies open in spacious plains, and is blessed with a very 
healthful air, as appears by the age and vigour of the people ; 
and though I travelled in the month of June, the heat of 
the weather hindered me not from riding at all hours with- 
out any great annoyance from the sun. By easie journeys 
I landed at Akenatzy upon the twelfth of June. The cur- 
rent of the river is here so strong, that my horse had much 
difficulty to resist it ; and I expected every step to be carried 
away with the stream. 

This island, though small, maintains many inhabitants, 
who are fix't here in great security, being naturallv fortified 
with fastnesses of mountains, and water of every side. Upon 
the north-shore they yearly reap great crops of corn, of 
which they always have a twelve-months provision afore- 
hand, against an invasion from their powerful neighbours. 
Their government is under two kings, one presiding in arms, 
the other in hunting and husbandry. They hold all things, 
except their wives, in common ; and their custome in eat- 
ing is, that every man in his turn feasts all the rest; and 
he that makes the entertainment is seated betwixt the two 
kings ; where having highly commended his own chear, 
they carve and distribute it amongst the guests. 

At my arrival here, I met four stranger-Indians, whose 
bodies were painted in various colours with figures of animals 
whose likeness I had never seen : and by some discourse 
and signes which passed between us, I gathered that they 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

were the only survivors of fifty, who set out together in 
company from some great island, as I conjecture, to the north- 
west ; for I understood that they crossed a great water, in 
which most of their party perished by tempest, the rest 
dying in the marishes and mountains by famine and hard 
weather, after a two-months travel by land and water in 
quest of this island of Akenatzy. 

The most remarkable conjecture that I can frame out 
of this relation is, that these Indians might come from the 
island of new Albion or California, from whence we may 
imagine some great arm of the Indian ocean or bay stretches 
into the continent towards the Apalatsean mountains in the 
nature of a mid-land sea, in which many of these Indians 
might have perished. To confirm my opinion in this point, 
I have heard several Indians testifie, that the nation of 
Rickohockans, who dwell not far to the westward of the 
Apalataean mountains, are seated upon a land, as they term 
it, of great waves; by which I suppose they mean the sea- 

The next day after my arrival at Akenatzy, a Rick- 
ohockan Ambassadour, attended by five Indians, whose faces 
were coloured with auripigmentum (in which mineral these 
parts do much abound) was received, and that night invited 
to a ball of their fashion ; but in the height of their mirth 
and dancing, by a smoke contrived for that purpose, the 
room was suddenly darkned, and for what cause I know 
not, the Rickohockan and his retinue barbarously murthered. 
This struck me with such an affrightment, that the very 
next day, without taking my leave of them, I slunk away 
with my Indian companion. Though the desire of informing 
my self further concerning some minerals, as auripigmentum, 
etc. which I there took special notice of, would have per- 
swaded me to stay longer amongst them, had not the bloody 
example of their treachery to the Rickohockans frightened 
me away. 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

The fourteenth of June, pursuing a south-southwest 
course, sometimes by a beaten path, and sometimes over hills 
and rocks, I was forc'd to take up my quarters in the woods : 
for though the Oenock-Indians, whom I then sought, were 
not in a direct line above thirty odde miles distant from 
Akenatzy, yet the ways were such, and obliged me to go 
so far about, that I reached not Oenock until the sixteenth. 
The country here, by the industry of these Indians, is very 
open, and clear of wood. Their town is built round a 
field, where in their sports they exercise with so much 
labour and violence, and in so great numbers, that I have 
seen the ground wet with the sweat that dropped from 
their bodies : their chief recreation is slinging of stones. 
They are of mean stature and courage, covetous and thievish, 
industrious to earn a peny ; and therefore hire themselves 
out to their neighbours, who employ them as carryers or 
porters. They plant abundance of grain, reap three crops 
in a summer, and out of their granary supply all the adjacent 
parts. These and the mountain-Indians build not their 
houses of bark, but of watling and plaister. In summer, 
the heat of the weather makes them chuse to lie abroad 
in the night under thin arbours of wild palm. Some houses 
they have of reed and bark ; they build them generally round : 
to each house belongs a little hovel made like an oven, 
where they lay up their corn and mast, and keep it dry. 
They parch their nuts and acorns over the fire, to take 
away their rank oyliness ; which afterwards pressed, yeeld a 
milky liquor, and the acorns an amber-colour'd oyl. In 
these, mingled together, they dip their cakes at great enter- 
tainments, and so serve them up to their guests as an ex- 
traordinary dainty. Their government is democratick ; and 
the sentences of their old men are received as laws, or rather 
oracles, by them. 

Fourteen miles west-southwest of the Oenocks, dwell 
the Shackory-Indians, upon a rich soyl, and yet abounding 
in antimony, of which they shewed me considerable quantities. 
Finding them agree with the Oenocks in customs and man- 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

ners, I made no stay here, but passing thorow their town, 
I travelled till the nineteenth of June ; and then after a two 
days troublesome journey thorow thickets and marish 
grounds, I arrived at Watary above fourty miles distant, and 
bearing west-southwest to Shakor. This nation differs in 
government from all the other Indians of these parts : for 
they are slaves, rather than subjects to their king. Their 
present monarch is a grave man, and courteous to strangers : 
yet I could not without horrour behold his barbarous super- 
stition, in hiring three youths, and sending them forth to 
kill as many young women of their enemies as they could 
light on, to serve his son, then newly dead, in the other 
world, as he vainly fancyed. These youths during my stay 
returned with skins torn off the heads and faces of three 
young girls, which they presented to his majestie, and were 
by him gratefully received. 

I departed from Watary the one and twentieth of June : 
and keeping a west-course for near thirty miles, I came to 
Sara : here I found the ways more level and easie. Sara 
is not far distant from the mountains, which here lose 
their height, and change their course and name : for they 
run due west, and receive from the Spaniards the name of 
Suala. From these mountains or hills the Indians draw 
great quantities of cinabar, with which beaten to powder 
they colour their faces : this mineral is of a deeper purple 
than vermilion, and is the same which is in so much esteem 
amongst physitians, being the first element of quicksilver. 

I did likewise, to my no small admiration, find hard 
cakes of white salt amongst them : but whether they were 
made of sea-water, or taken out of salt-pits, I know not ; 
but am apt to believe the later, because the sea is so remote 
from them. Many other rich commodities and minerals 
there are undoubtedly in these parts, which if possessed by 
an ingenious and industrious people, would be improved to 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

vast advantages by trade. But having tied my self up to 
things onely that I have seen in my travels, I will deliver 
no conjectures. 

Lingua sile non est ultra narrabile quidquam. 

These Indians are so indiscreetly fond of their children, 
that they will not chastise them for any mischief or inso- 
lence. A little boy had shot an arrow thorow my body, 
had I not reconciled him to me with gifts : and all this 
anger was, because I spurred my horse out of another 
arrows way which he directed at him. This caused such 
a mutiny amongst the youth of the town, that the seniors 
taking my horse and self into protection, had much ado 
(and that by intreaties and prayers, not commands) to 
appease them. 

From Sara I kept a south-southwest course until the 
five and twentieth of June, and then I reached Wisacky. 
This three-days march was more troublesome to me than 
all my travels besides : for the direct way which I took 
from Sara to Wisacky, is over a continuous marish over- 
grown with reeds, from whose roots sprung knotty stumps 
as hard and sharp as flint. I was forc'd to lead my 

horse most part of the way, and wonder that he was not 
either plunged in the bogs, or lamed by those rugged knots. 

This nation is subject to a neighbour king residing 
upon the bank of a great lake called Ushery, invironed of 
all sides with mountains, and Wisacky marish ; and there- 
fore I will detain the reader no longer with the discourse 
of them, because I comprehend them in that of Ushery. 

The six and twentieth of June, having crossed a fresh 
river which runs into the lake of Ushery, I came to the 
town, which was more populous than any I had seen before 
in my march. The king dwells some three miles from it, 
and therefore I had no opportunity of seeing him the two 
nights which I stayed there. This prince, though his 
dominions are large and populous, is in continual fear of 
the Oustack-Indians seated on the opposite side of the lake ; 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

a people so addicted to arms, that even their women come 
into the field, and shoot arrows over their husbands shoulders, 
who shield them with leathern targets. The men it seems 
should fight with silver-hatchets : for one of the Usheryes 
told me that they were of the same metal with the pomel 
of my sword. They are a cruel generation, and prey 
upon people, whom they either steal or force away from 
the Usheryes in Periago's, to sacrifice to their idols. The 
Ushery-women delight in feather-ornaments, of which they 
have great variety ; but peacocks in most esteem, because 
rare in those parts. They are reasonably handsome, and 
have more of civility in their carriage than I observed in 
the other nations with whom I conversed ; which is the 
reason that the men are more effeminate and lazie. 

These miserable wretches are strangely infatuated with 
illusions of the devil : it caused no small horrour in me, to 
see one of them wrythe his neck all on one side, foam 
at the mouth, stand bare-foot upon burning coals for near 
an hour, and then recovering his senses, leap out of the 
fire without hurt or signe of any. This I was an eye- 
witness of. 

The water of Ushery-lake seemed to my taste a little 
brackish ; which I rather impute to some mineral-waters 
which flow into it, than to any saltness it can take from 
the sea, which we may reasonably suppose is a great way 
from it. Many pleasant rivulets fall into it, and it is stored 
with great plenty of excellent fish. I judged it to be about 
ten leagues broad : for were not the other shore very 
high, it could not be discerned from Ushery. How far 
this lake tends westerly, or where it ends, I could neither 
learn or guess. 

Here I made a days stay, to inform my self further in 
these countries ; and understood both from the Usheries, 
and some Sara-Indians that came to trade with them, that 
two-days journey and a half from hence to the southwest, 
a powerful nation of bearded men were seated, which I 
suppose to be the Spaniards, because the Indians never have 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

any ; it being an universal custom among them to prevent 
their growth, by plucking the young hair out by the roots. 
Westward lies a government inhospitable to strangers ; and 
to the north, over the Suala-mountains, lay the Rickohockans. 
I thought it not safe to venture my self amongst the 
Spaniards, lest taking me for a spy, they would either make 
me away, or condemn me to a perpetual slavery in their 
mines. Therefore not thinking fit to proceed further, the 
eight and twentieth of June I faced about, and looked 

To avoid Wisacky-marish, I shaped my course northeast ; 
and after three days travel over hilly ways, where I met 
with no path or road, I fell into a barren sandy desert, 
where I suffered miserably for want of water ; the heat of 
the summer having drunk all the springs dry, and left no 
signe of any, but the gravelly chanels in which they run : 
so that if now and then I had not found a standing pool, 
which provident nature set round with shady oaks, to defend 
it from the ardour of the sun, my Indian companion, horse 
and self had certainly perished with thirst. In this distress 
we travelled till the twelfth of July, and then found the 
head of a river, which afterwards proved Eruco ; in which 
we received not onely the comfort of a necessary and 
reasonable refreshment, but likewise the hopes of coming 
into a country again where we might find game for food at 
least, if not discover some new nation or people. Nor did 
our hopes fail us : for after we had crossed the river twice, 
we were led by it upon the fourteenth of July to the town 
of Katearas, a place of great Indian trade and commerce, 
and chief seat of the haughty Emperour of the Toskiroro's, 
called Kaskufara, vulgarly Kaskous. His grim Majestie, 
upon my first appearance, demanded my gun and shot ; 
which I willingly parted with to ransom my self out of his 
clutches : for he was the most proud imperious barbarian 
that I met with in all my marches. The people here at 
this time seemed prepared for some extraordinary solemnity : 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

for the men and the women of better sort had decked 
themselves very fine with pieces of bright copper in their 
hair and ears, and about their arms and neck, which upon 
festival occasions they use as an extraordinary bravery: by 
which it should seem this country is not without rich 
mines of copper. But I durst not stay to inform my self 
further in it, being jealous of some sudden mischief towards 
me from Kaskous, his nature being bloudy, and provoked 
upon any slight occasion. 

Therefore leaving Katearas, I travelled through the 
woods until the sixteenth, upon which I came to Kawitzio- 
kan, an Indian town upon a branch of Korenoke-river, 
which here I passed over, continuing my journey to Men- 
chaerinck; and on the seventeenth departing from thence, 
I lay all night in the woods, and the next morning betimes 
going by Natoway, I reached that evening Apamatuck in 
Virginia, where I was not a little overjoyed to see Christian 
faces again. 


From the Falls of Rappahanock-River in 

Virginia, (due West) to the top of 

the Apalataean Mountains. 

On the twentieth of August 1670, Col. Catlet of Vir- 
ginia and my self, with nine English horse, and five Indians 
on foot, departed from the house of one Robert Talifer, 
and that night reached the falls of Rappahanock-river, in 
Indian Mantapeuck. 

The next day we passed it over where it divides into 
two branches north and south, keeping the main branch 
north of us. 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

The three and twentieth we found it so shallow, that 
it onely wet our horses hoofs. 

The four and twentieth we travelled thorow the Savanae 
amongst vast herds of red and fallow deer which stood gaz- 
ing at us ; and a little after, we came to the Promontories 
or spurs of the Apalataean-mountains. 

These Savanae are low grounds at the foot of the 
Apalataeans, which all the winter, spring, and part of the 
summer, lie under snow or water, when the snow is dis- 
solved, which falls down from the mountains commonly 
about the beginning of June ; and then their verdure is 
wonderful pleasant to the eye, especially of such as having 
travelled through the shade of the vast forest, come out of 
a melacholy darkness of a sudden, into a clear and open 
skie. To heighten the beauty of these parts, the first 
springs of most of those great rivers which run into the 
Atlantick ocean, or Cheseapeack bay, do here break out, 
and in various branches interlace the flowry meads, whose 
luxurious herbage invites numerous herds of red deer (for 
their unusual largeness improperly termed elks by ignorant 
people) to feed. The right elk, though very common in 
New Scotland, Canada, and those northern parts, is never 
seen on this side of the continent : for that which the 
Virginians call elks, does not at all differ from the red deer 
of Europe, but in his dimensions, which are far greater : but 
yet the elk in bigness does as far exceed them : their heads, 
or horns, are not very different ; but the neck of the elk is 
so short, that it hardly separates the head from the shoul- 
ders ; which is the reason that they cannot feed upon level 
ground but by falling on their knees, though their heads be 
a yard long : therefore they commonly either brcuse upon 
trees, or standing up to the belly in ponds or rivers feed 
upon the banks : their cingles or tails are hardly three inches 
long. I have been told by a New-England gentlemen, that 
the lips and nostrils of this creature is the most delicious 
meat he ever tasted. As the red deer we here treat of, I can- 
not difference the taste of their flesh from those in Europe. 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

The six and twentieth of August we came to the 
monntains, where finding no horseway up, we alighted, and 
left our horses with two or three Indians below, whilst we 
went up afoot. The ascent was so steep, the cold so in- 
tense, and we so tired, that having with much ado gained 
the top of one of the highest, we drank the kings health 
in brandy, gave the mountain his name, and agreed to 
return back again, having no encouragement from that 
prospect to proceed to a further discovery ; since from hence 
we saw another mountain, bearing north and by west to us, 
of a prodigious height : for according to an observation of 
the distance taken by Col. Catlet, it could not be less than 
fifty leagues from the place we stood upon. 

Here I was stung in my sleep by a mountain-spider ; 
and had not an Indian suckt out the poyson, I had died : 
for receiving the hurt at the tip of one of my fingers, the 
venome shot up immediately into my shoulder, and so in- 
flamed my side, that it is not possible to express my tor- 
ment. The means used by my physician, was first a small 
dose of snake-root-powder, which I took in a little water: 
and then making a kinde of plaister of the same, applied it 
neer to the part affected : when he had done so, he swal- 
lowed some by way of antidote himself, and suckt my fingers 
end so violently, that I felt the venome retire back from my 
side into my shoulder, and from thence down my arm : 
having thus suckt half a score times, and spit as often, I was 
eased of all my pain, and perfectly recovered. I thought I 
had been bit by a rattlesnake, for I saw not what hurt me : 
but the Indian found by the wound, and the effects of it, 
that it was given by a spider, one of which he shewed me 
the next day: it is not unlike our great blue spider, onely 
it is somewhat longer. I suppose the nature of his poyson 
to be much like that of the tarantula. 

I being thus beyond my hopes and expectations restored 
to my self, we unanimously agreed to return back, seeing 
no possibility of passing through the mountains : and rinding 
our Indians with our horses in the place where we left them, 
we rode homewards without making any further discovery. 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

Conjectures of the Land Beyond the 
Apalataean Mountains. 

They are certainly in a great error, who imagine that 
the continent of North-America is but eight or ten days 
journey over from the Atlantick to the Indian ocean : which 
all reasonable men must acknowledge, if they consider that 
Sir Francis Drake kept a west-northwest course from Cape 
Mendocino to California. Nevertheless, by what I gathered 
from the stranger Indians at Akenatzy of their voyage by 
sea to the very mountains from a far distant northwest 
country, I am brought over to their opinion who think that 
the Indian ocean does stretch an arm or bay from California 
into the continent as far as the Apalataean mountains, 
answerable to the Gulfs of Florida and Mexico on this side. 
Yet I am far from believing with some, that such great and 
navigable rivers are to be found on the other side the 
Apalataeans falling into the Indian ocean, as those which 
run from them to the eastward. My first reason is derived 
from the knowledge and experience we already have of 
South-America, whose Andes send the greatest rivers in the 
world (as the Amazones and Rio de la Plata, etc.) into the 
Atlantick, but none at all into the Pacifique sea. Another 
argument is, that all our water-fowl which delight in lakes 
and rivers, as swans, geese, ducks, etc., come over the 
mountains from the Lake of Canada, when it is frozen over 
every winter, to our fresh rivers ; which they would never do, 
could they find any on the other side of the Apalataeans. 

Instructions to Such as Shall March Upon 

Discoveries into the North-American 


Two breaches there are in the Apalataean mountains, 
opening a passage into the western parts of the continent. 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r er 

One, as I am informed by Indians, at a place called Zynodoa, 
to the norward; the other Sara, where I have been my 
self : but the way thither being thorow a vast forest, where 
you seldom fall into any road or path, you must shape your 
course by a compass ; though some, for want of one, have 
taken their direction from the north-side of the trees, which 
is distinguished from the rest by quantities of thick moss 
growing there. You will not meet with many hinderances 
on horseback in your passage to the mountains, but where 
your course is interrupted by branches of the great rivers, 
which in many places are not fordable ; and therefore if 
you be unprovided of means or strength to make a bridge 
by felling trees across, you may be forced to go a great way 
about : in this respect company is necessary, but in others 
so inconvenient, that I would not advise above half a dozen, 
or ten at the most, to travel together ; and of these, the 
major part Indians : for the nations in your way are prone 
to jealousie and mischief towards Christians in a considerable 
body, and as courteous and hearty to a few, from whom 
they apprehend no danger. 

When you pass thorow an even level country where 
you can take no particular remarks from hill or waters to 
guide your self by when you come back, you must not 
forget to notch the trees as you go along with your small 
hatchet, that in your return you may know when you fall 
into the same way which you went. By this means you 
will be certain of the place which you are in, and may 
govern your course homeward accordingly. 

In stead of bread, I used the meal of parched mayz, 
i. e. Indian wheat ; which when I eat, I seasoned with a 
little salt. This is both more portable and strengthening 
than biscuit, and will suffer no mouldiness by any weather. 
For other provisions, you may securely trust to your gun, 
the woods being full of fallow, and savanae of red-deer, 
besides great variety of excellent fowl, as wilde turkeys, 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

pigeons, partridges, phesants, etc. But you must not forget 
to dry or barbecue some of these before you come to the 
mountains : for upon them you will meet with no game, 
except a few bears. 

Such as cannot lie on the ground, must be provided 
with light hamacks, which hung in the trees, are more cool 
and pleasant than any bed whatsoever. 

The order and disciplne to be observed in this expedi- 
tion is, that an Indian scout or two march as far before 
the rest of the party as they can in sight, both for the 
finding out provision, and discovery of ambushes, if any 
should be laid by enemies. Let your other Indians keep on 
the right and left hand, armed not onely with guns, but 
bills and hatchets, to build small arbours or cottages of 
boughs and bark of trees, to shelter and defend you from 
the injuries of the weather. At nights it is necessary to 
make great fires round about the place where you take up 
your lodging, as well to scare wild-beasts away, as to purifie 
the air. Neither must you fail to go the round at the close 
of the evening : for then, and betimes in the morning, the 
Indians put all their designes in execution : in the night 
they never attempt any thing. 

When in the remote parts you draw near to an Indian 
town, you must by your scouts inform your self whether 
they hold any correspondence with the Sasquesahanaughs : 
for to such you must give notice of your approach by a 
gun ; which amongst other Indians is to be avoided, because 
being ignorant of their use, it would affright and dispose 
them to some treacherous practice against you. 

Being arrived at a town, enter no house until you are 
invited ; and then seem not afraid to be led in pinion'd like 
a prisoner: for that is a ceremony they use to friends and 
enemies without distinction. 

You must accept of an invitation from the seniors, 
before that of the young men ; and refuse nothing that is 
offered or set before you : for they are very jealous, and 
sensible of the least slighting or neglect from strangers, and 
mindful of revenge. 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

Touching Trade with Indians. 

If you barely designe a home-trade with neighbour- 
Indians, for skins of deer, beaver, otter, wild-cat, fox, racoon, 
etc. your best truck is a sort of course trading cloth, of 
which a yard and a half makes a matchcoat or mantle fit 
for their wear ; as also axes, hoes, knives, sizars, and all 
sorts of edg'd tools. Guns, powder and shot, etc. are com- 
modities they will greedily barter for : but to supply the 
Indians with arms and ammunition, is prohibited in all 
English governments. 

In dealing with the Indians, you must be positive and 
at a word : for if they perswade you to fall any thing in 
your price, they will spend time in higgling for further 
abatements, and seldom conclude any bargain. Sometimes 
you may with brandy or strong liquor dispose them to an 
humour of giving you ten times the value of your com- 
modity ; and at other times they are so hide-bound, that 
they will not offer half the market-price, especially if they 
be aware that you have a designe to circumvent them with 
drink, or that they think you have a desire to their goods, 
which you must seem to slight and disparage. 

To the remoter Indians, you must carry other kinde of 
truck, as small looking-glasses, pictures, beads and bracelets 
of glass, knives, sizars, and all manner of gaudy toys and 
knacks for children, which are light and portable. For they 
are apt to admire such trinkets, and will purchase them at 
any rate, either with their currant coyn of small shells, 
which they call roanoack or peack, or perhaps with pearl, 
vermilion, pieces of christal ; and towards Ushery, with some 
odde pieces of plate or buillon, which they sometimes receive 
in truck from the Oestacks. 

Could I have foreseen when I set out, the advantages 
to be made by a trade with those remote Indians, I had 
gone better provided ; though perhaps I might have run a 
great hazard of my life, had I purchased considerably amongst 
them, by carrying wealth unguarded through so many different 


The Discoveries of John L e d e r e r 

nations of barbarous people : therefore it is vain for any man 
to propose to himself, or undertake a trade at that distance, 
unless he goes with strength to defend, as well as an adven- 
ture to purchase such commodities : for in such a design 
many ought to joyn and go in company. 

Some pieces of silver unwrought I purchased my self of 
the Usheries, for no other end than to justifie this account 
I give of my second expedition, which had not determined 
at Ushery, were I accompanied with half a score resolute 
youths that would have stuck to me in a further discovery 
towards the Spanish mines.